Special Guests

The Rev. Dr. Stephen Paul Bouman, currently serves as the Executive Director of the ELCA Domestic Mission unit.  Pastor Bouman began his ministry in the churchwide organization when he was called to the position of Executive Director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Mission unit in February 2008.

He previously served as bishop of the ELCA Metropolitan New York Synod from September 1996 through January 2008.  The Metropolitan New York Synod embraces the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island, and several counties north and west.  It includes 236 member congregations, and worships in over 20 languages.

Pastor Bouman was born in Melrose Park, Illinois on April 14, 1947.  He graduated from Concordia Theological Seminary/Seminex in 1973.  He received his Master of Sacred Theology from New York Theological Seminary in 1978 and his Doctor of Ministry degree in 1980, an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in 2001, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Wagner College in 2008.

He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 at St. Jacobus Lutheran Church, Woodside, Queens.  He then pastored Atonement Lutheran Church, Jackson Heights, from 1974 until 1981; and Trinity Lutheran Church, Bogota, New Jersey from 1982 through 1992.  He is founder of the diakonia ministry education program, which trains lay people for ministry in local congregations. His parish ministry also included building strong multicultural outreach, the launching of two parochial schools, leadership in several church based community organizations, and a variety of ministries of assistance and advocacy among the poor.

Pastor Bouman served as Assistant to the Bishop from 1992 until his election as bishop in 1996.  He also served as Chair of the ELCA Board of Higher Education and Schools, and as a Trustee for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and Wagner College in New York City.  He currently serves on the board of Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Ministries in Chicago, Illinois.

Pastor Bouman is a published author of a number of scholarly articles, books, curricula and devotionals.  Two recent books are They Are Us: Lutherans and Immigration, co-authored with Ralston Deffenbaugh, published in 2009 and Grace All Around Us (an account of ministry in the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks) published in 2007.

He is married to the former Janet Luce, and they have three grown children and three grandchildren.  They reside in Chicago.

The Rev. Dr. Craig L. Nessan is Academic Dean and Professor of Contextual Theology at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.  He teaches courses in the areas of contextual theology, pastoral theology, and theological ethics.  He has oversight of the seminary’s internship program. Dr. Nessan has served eleven years as a parish pastor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  He holds degrees from Michigan State University, Wartburg Theological Seminary, and the University of Munich.  His theological interests include ecclesiology, theological ethics, liberation theology, and family systems theory. In addition to other articles, reviews, and books, Dr. Nessan is the author of Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as Ministering Community (2010), Beyond Maintenance to Mission: A Theology of the Congregation (2010, Revised Edition), Liberating Lutheran Theology: Freedom for Justice and Solidarity in a Global Context (2011-with Paul Chung and Ulrich Duchrow), Doing Theology in a Global Context (2009-Editor with Thomas Kothmann),Transforming Leadership: New Vision for a Church in Mission (2008-with Norma Cook Everist), Many Members, Yet One Body: Committed Same-Gender Relationships and the Mission of the Church (2004),Give Us This Day: A Lutheran Proposal for Ending World Hunger (2003), The Air I Breathe is Wartburg Air: The Legacy of William H. Weiblen (2003), andWho Is Christ for Us? (2002-edited with Renate Wind). He is contributing author for the book, The Evangelizing Church: A Lutheran Contribution (2005-edited by Craig Van Gelder and Richard Bliese) and editor of the revised version of William Weiblen’s history of the seminary, Life Together at Wartburg Theological Seminary (2005).